The lights are on
I'll be honest with you. I'm a huge Ratchet & Clank fan. One of the biggest, I can only assume. So big, as a matter of fact, that I routinely rate A Crack in Time as one of my top 3 favorite video games ever made, and it beat out 25 years worth of gaming experiences. There's just something so honest and rewarding and brilliant about Ratchet & Clank. It combines everything you could want in a game into one incredible package. You have the intense action. The awesome selection of incredibly varied weapons. The gorgeous graphics. The perfect blend of action and platforming. The laugh out loud story and memorable characters. It's got everything.
Unfortunately, Full Frontal Assault only manages to bring some of the brilliance of traditional Ratchet & Clank, but just enough to still be worthwhile. If you've played any of the Future titles in the Ratchet series (If you haven't I strongly suggest picking up both of them, Tools of Destruction and A Crack in Time) and are a big fan of them as I am, you may find yourself disappointed with what Insomniac has presented us here. They managed to leave in some of the exploration and platforming we all love and clamor for, but left out what makes Ratchet & Clank such a beloved series.
Nothing in the game seems to live in harmony. The tower defense, while technically fun, just doesn't feel like it belongs. When you start a single player, all you want to do is run around and explore like you would in any other Ratchet game. You want to get into meticulously designed firefights, and use your weapons wisely to take down anything in your path. However, the game doesn't let you. As soon as you start to get comfortable with returning to your favorite franchise, the tower defense rears its head and pulls you away. You are always stopped from doing what you want to be doing in a Ratchet game in order to go defend a base. It's like the game doesn't want you to get used to what you already know and love.
Like I said above, building turrets and walls and defending your base is fun, and it all feels great, but it constantly gets in the way. It makes you wish they just scrapped the tower defense nonsense and focused on giving us the traditional Ratchet game every fan has been begging for since All 4 One failed to capture the magic of Tools of Destruction and A Crack in Time. Insomniac and Sony together have made sure to keep the 3D platformer genre alive with the Ratchet series, and I give them all the credit in the world for this. 3D platformers are my personal favorite genre of games, and Ratchet has always been my favorite, but here it feels like Ratchet & Clank are just squeaking by.
It's not all bad though. Like I said, the game is fun, and even though the tower defense seems to get in the way of what you really want to be doing in a Ratchet game, Insomniac still gives you just enough classic Ratchet to feel like you got your money's worth. For $20, you're looking at a 6 hour single player game with some fun multiplayer thrown in. It's a solid package, and one they clearly spent a good amount of time on. It's polished, looks great, and controls as perfectly as any Ratchet game. It just doesn't scratch that itch that fans of the series were hoping it would.
All we can hope is that Ratchet fans will get their wish one day. Another, full blown and fully featured traditional Ratchet game. I want to spend another 15 hours in the Ratchet universe like I did in Tools of Destruction and A Crack in Time (The first three games are incredible as well if you buy the HD Collection). I want that traditional experience of landing on a new planet, and spending the next hour exploring every area and killing every enemy. I want that experience of flying into space, and entering in Tournaments, or platforming on those awesome little planetoids. I want what Insomniac does so well. And I know I'm not the only one who wants these things.
Ratchet & Clank does something few 3D Action Platformers have done over the years. They remained relevant. They can be brought back to their former glory if only Insomniac will give the series the time and money and heart it deserves. Full Frontal Assault is a well done diversion, but that itch isn't scratched, it only itches more now.
Fantastic review here! Great job detailing your thoughts.
Good Review, I agree with you, I miss the planet landings and killing enemies that felt hard and yet fun. My favorite one was probably deadlocked with the original R&C.
Great review man. Been playing Ratchet and Clank since it came it and I think A Crack In Time is the best Ratchet game ever, in front of Up Your Arsenal. This is my favorite series on the playstation, and of all time. I still will be picking this one up for sure though.
Well done. Always liked the ratchet/clank series.